This is a week where the axiom that the SEC keeps beating up on itself proved true. After this week, there are only two teams without a conference loss, and after next week, there might not be any. The surprising thing is that Kentucky is one of the teams without a loss. They are currently ranked #8 in both polls.
Of course, the big news is that LSU is now #1 in the AP poll. We remain #2 in the Coaches' Poll. After my rant the other day, I couldn't be more surprised. My theory is that most of the voters who switched over to us didn't watch any of our game, but only saw the final score, and believed USC didn't look good against Washington. I didn't watch most of the USC game, so I really can't comment on it. So we enter next week #1 in the AP poll for the first time in many decades. Remember, the AP didn't vote us #1 at the end of 2003, so this is a new experience for most LSU fans.
Alright, here we go around the SEC.
South Carolina 38
This game was closer than the score would indicate. The game was tied at 21 late in the 3rd quarter. MSU was within striking distance, down by 10 with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining when they made one of the most inexplicable coaching decisions I've seen in a long time. They punted the ball away. I shook my head in wonderment at the decision. South Carolina went on to score a touchdown to put it away.
USC did it with passing. Redshirt freshman Chris Smelley passed for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns as for once the USC passing game carried the offense.
MSU also lost their new starting QB to injury, meaning they're now down 2 quarterbacks.
Florida Atlantic 17
Andre Woodson put up numbers that put him on the short list for the GeauxTuscaloosa Offensive Skill Position Player of the Week with 301 yards and 5 touchdown passes against 1 interception. Despite my concerns that Kentucky was a bad game waiting to happen, they managed to avoid it this week. Next week, they get a bigger challenge with South Carolina.
Florida State 21
It will be an interesting week on talk radio here in Alabama with Bama losing a winnable game, and Auburn pulling a dramatic upset. Neither of these schools' fanbases are particularly good winners, but Auburn's fans are definitely worse about it. Bama's offense was dominated by FSU's defense for most of the game. The stats here are deceiving, because Bama put up a big chunk of its yards in the back half of the 4th quarter, at times when they were behind by 14 points. Bama got 151 of its 329 total yards and all of its points on its final 2 possessions of the game. John Parker Wilson averaged less than 5 yards per pass, and the running game didn't go very far.
The good news is that the Bama defense continued to play well. The rest of the bad news is that they spent a lot of time on the field. I have a theory that a team can only play a certain number of tough, physical games in a season before it really starts to wear them down. This is especially true for a defense, and for a team with a lack of depth. Bama lacks depth, and they've now played 3 tough, physical games. They get a little break next week, playing Houston.
North Texas 7
Even Casey Dick put up good numbers in this game. He averaged 10 yards per attempt and threw 3 touchdown passes. Marcus Monk didn't return this game. Will he ever?
Eastern Michigan 7
Vandy just keeps hanging around. Chris Nickson is playing pretty much like last year, getting yards both on the ground and in the air, but also throwing a lot of interceptions. They get Auburn next. That should be a fun one, and I even like Vandy's chances in it.
Ole Miss 17
17 was a popular number this week for losing teams. Just an observation I'd like to share.
This game was close for a while, but Georgia rode its senior running back Thomas Brown, who got 209 yards of total offense (180 rushing, 11 receiving, 18 returning) and scored 3 touchdowns. He is the recipient of the GeauxTuscaloosa Offensive Skill Position Player of the Week for this week. Matthew Stafford didn't put up gaudy numbers, but he was effective, with 144 yards passing and 1 touchdown.
I think Georgia looks like the odds-on favorite in the East so far this year. This might look like a really foolish statement in a week or two, but I'm making it now.
The headliner. Alright, I'm sure you've all seen the highlights, so I won't go through all that. I think the story of this game is simple. Auburn looked like a much-improved team, while Florida looked more like the immature team I expected before the season than like the juggernaut that showed up early in the season.
I really don't think Florida is that great of a team. They not only got beat, but they looked very beatable. This game was not a fluke. Auburn was able to move the ball both on the ground and in the air, and was also able to slow down Tebow's charge enough to give themselves a chance to win. They held Tebow to 276 yards of total offense, which sounds like an awful lot (and it is), but it's less than he's been getting.
They showed a way to beat Tebow. First, get penetration by your defensive line. Second, if he's running at you, tackle him low. Third, cover the receivers. Fourth, stay in your rush lanes.